Introducing Picador Illustrated, a new series in which our intrepid Publicity Assistant, Madeline Gobbo, creates one-off illustrations for our favorite Picador books. Let us know which books you’d like to see illustrated next!
“A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.”
―Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
I don’t think I can wait any longer to start recommending this book. You must have it when it comes out in November. You especially must if:
- you attend Hilary Mantel midnight release parties
- you still get upset that your eyes aren’t purple like Alanna’s
- you like Game of Thrones but wish GRRM could have kept his characters from describing someone as a whore every few pages
- you like your history fascinating and your lesbians powerful
- your eyes lit up when you first learned about the Great Vowel Shift
But you know, if none of that is true but you do like good books, you still need it. Go do whatever you have to do to make sure Hild by Nicola Griffith is in your life at the first moment it can be.
Miss our last FSG/GQ/Flavorpill Originals Series event with author Lindsay Hunter and musician Holly Miranda? Then check this out.
“Here’s another way I like to look at endings. Inhale. Your lungs inflate, your chest rises, you feel the pressure pushing outward inside your chest. If you hold your breath at the end of an inhalation, your body tenses with the pressure, your throat locks. Now exhale. Your chest deflates; your shoulders slump slightly, your belly is soft. The best stories end on an inhalation, or at that moment after you’ve inhaled but before you exhale. It’s a kind of hovering, too. Often, when you think you’ve reached the end of a story you’re writing, the truth is you actually ended it a page or pages before, or sometimes you need to continue writing a few paragraphs farther.”
I owe a lot to the writing workshops I took from Nelly Reifler in college––not least of which are the books she gave the class that I now love; a few are listed at the bottom of this essay––Motorman, House of the Sleeping Beauties. And, god, that short story “The Grave” by Katherine Anne Porter.
Nelly’s new book, Elect H. Mouse State Judge, just came out from Faber & Faber. It’s terrific.
“For a while after publication I felt an intense urge to explain the book—an urge that came out of the new and bizarre experience of having people write about your work: sometimes understanding it profoundly, and sometimes missing the point phenomenally. For a few fretful weeks I wanted to respond, to clarify, to expose—weeks in which my writing itself felt buried. And then, thank goodness, I moved into a space of not paying too much attention to the book’s journey. Or perhaps a different kind of attention. I listen, I read, I appreciate, I ponder, and then—in the words of an editor—I excrete. And I feel a gorgeous, protective silence fall over me, and get back to my work.”
Reflecting on her recently published sort-of-memoir, Unmastered: A Book of Desire, Most Difficult to Tell, Katherine Angel considers the balancing act of handling feedback – a fine addition to our ongoing archive of writing advice.
Also see cultural icons on criticism.
"My only country is my two children and perhaps, though in second place, some moments, streets, faces or books that are in me." —Roberto Bolaño
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of Bolaño’s death, The Savage Detectives and 2666 are available in e-book for the first time! And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out The Third Reich and Woes of the True Policeman.
“Like painting it is something you often have to stand back from in order to best appreciate. Also like painting, Espriu’s work can make a fool out of the dutifully literal thinker.”
On the centennial of Salvador Espriu, Rowan Ricardo Phillips on translating the Catalan poet.
Vol. 13, No. 3
If I’m the first person to tell you about Amelia Gray, we obviously don’t have any Facebook friends in common. More than a few CLMP members have published her: Tin House, Guernica, DIAGRAM, American Short Fiction, to name some. And Flavorwire just named her one of The Top 10 Best Millennial Authors You Probably Haven’t Read (Yet). So, let’s do something about that.
I first encountered Amelia Gray accidentally at a reading, maybe four years ago. She got on stage with a handful of note cards and said she was going to read some “threats.” And then she proceeded to scare the crap out of me. With each card, a promissory note of a very awkward and/or terrifying thing that would happen (to who? me!? gulp). And, once she pronounced the threat, she crumpled it up and chucked it at the audience. I bring this up to warn you: Amelia gets up in your face.
Her stories aren’t the type you read and then forget when and where you read them. You’ll remember. You’ll remember because it’s like rubber cement, or some other addictively-bad smelling thing, that you can’t get away from and have to roll-peel off your skin for days. Take “These Are the Fables,” for example. Believe you me, the burnt sugar smell of the blazing Dunkin’ Donuts is going to need more than a shower to ditch.
In the glow of the glazed and sprinkled flames, is a couple too-old-to-be-forgiven-for-this-type–of-behavior plotting their next moves through Texas. They learn they’re with child. We learn what we think is a lot about how to read this couple. From the get, you’ll think Amelia is generous with the details. She lures you in with information, you think you have it all down, and then you realize those surface information nuggets are just a distraction and all the while something else has been happening. There isn’t a lot of action or a big cast, and yet, each encounter, every action, like any great short story, is just so—well—pregnant. So in this trail of smoke through Texas towns avoided and considered, here’s a story about closed doors, physical contact, willful ignorance, the search for meaning, obsessive love, the inertia of the day to day, and, ultimately, what to share. And, while the images of the couple can at times be endearing, each time you read this story, you’ll say to yourself, Jesus H. Christ there is just something menacing about this picture.
Join us in supporting
by Amelia Gray
Recommended by CLMP
WE WERE IN THE PARKING LOT OF A DUNKIN’ DONUTS IN BEAUMONT, TX when I told Kyle that I was pregnant. I figured I’d rather be out under God as I announced the reason for all my illness and misery.
I said to him, Well shit. Guess we’re having a baby.
“Lemme see,” Kyle said. I handed him the test and he squinted at it for a second before tossing it into a bush. A stranger set his coffee on the roof of his car and clapped. Kyle flipped him the double deuce. “People these days,” Kyle said.
I said that my mama will be happy.
“Here’s the thing,” he said. “Your mama’s dead. And you’re forty years old. And I have a warrant out for my arrest. And I am addicted to getting tattoos. And our air conditioner’s broke. And you are drunk every day. And all I ever want to do is fight and go swimming. And I am addicted to Keno. And you are just covered in hair. And I’ve never done a load of laundry in my life. And you are still technically married to my drug dealer. And I refuse to eat beets. And you can’t sleep unless you’re sleeping on the floor. And I am addicted to heroin. And honest to God, you got big tits but you make a real shitty muse. And we are in Beaumont, Texas.”
I said, These are minor setbacks on the road to glory.
“And,” Kyle added, “the Dunkin’ Donuts is on fire.”
On Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m., Brian McGreevy, the author of Hemlock Grove (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012) –– Netflix will release its original series inspired by the book that night at midnight, and cast members Bill Skarsgard and Landon Liboiron will be present to join the conversation –– and Caveman, whose new album is Caveman (Fat Possum Records, April 2) will perform (acoustic) and discuss their work with host Katherine Lanpher.
Admission is free, and no tickets are required. For full details, click here.